Check out our easy tutorial below for how to make your own marbled paper using some common items you probably have around the house:
  • shaving cream
  • liquid watercolors or food coloring
  • eye droppers, medicine droppers, or pipettes
  • pie plate (we like the light weight aluminum ones)
  • wooden skewer (or something to stir with)
  • paper shapes
  • squeegee
For older artist, the results are stunning and the design possibilities are endless.  For younger artists, the process of squirting out the shaving cream and dropping the color is great for fine motor development (not to mention, it's fun to play in the colored shaving cream when your done!).  

For a edible version, try whipped cream instead of shaving cream.  The colors aren't as bright, but it's safe for the really young artists to put in their mouths.

Step-by-Step

Step One: Squirt the shaving cream into the pie plate.  
You need complete coverage but it doesn't need to be deep.  We usually look for about half an inch.  You can use a spatula to spread it evenly around when your done squirting it out.

Step Two: Drop color onto the shaving cream.  
I think small drops work best.  We usually use 3-5 colors.  We don't dilute our watercolors for this activity.  You don't need much at all--maybe two teaspoons of total color!
Step Three: Swirl the colors together.  
The keyword here is SWIRL.  Not stir.  Not mix.  You're looking for swirls of color.  Using a thin stick (like a wooden skewer or even a toothpick) help ensure that the colors don't get too mixed up.  Hold the skewer perpendicular to the table surface and think of cutting and dividing up the dots of color instead of mixing.
Step Four: Place your paper shape on top of the shaving cream.  
Press down to make sure that the two surfaces connect at all points (press harder than you think).  
Step Five: Lift paper out of the pie plate and use a squeegee to scrap all the shaving cream off.  
If you don't have a squeegee, try an old gift card or expired credit card (or hotel key!)
Afterward, you can drop in more color, swirl again, and repeat the printing process.  Or, you can just enjoy the shaving cream as a sensory play invitation.  
We recently use our shaving cream prints to make planets. We splatter painted a piece of black construction paper with white paint and then glued on the marbled planets. 
These printed papers are perfect for collages (think spring flowers, fall leaves, etc).  They also make a beautiful set of notecards!
 
 
Teaching is what we do here at Orange Easel.  We teach art skills as well as life skills--like cutting with scissors, holding a pencil, and even using power tools (for the older kids).

We know that as parents, you are your kiddos BEST teachers.  And you've got a lot to teach!  We've got six magical words to help YOU teach anything.  We use them all the time when we're writing out a teaching plan or when we come across an obstacle in class.


I do. We do. You do. 

We think the "We do" step is really the most important (and the hardest) so this blog post is going to focused pretty heavily on that stage. We've outlined some tips below.  Be sure to watch our YouTube video too, where Miss Allison explains more about these three stages.

What can you teach ?

Our job as parents is to make little productive adults, right?  So, what can we teach?  Well, everything we know.  We need to  teach them everything that they'll need to be successful on their own.  All those life skills from tying their shoes to doing their own laundry to checking the tire pressure in their car tires.

There are many checklists floating around blogs and pinterests boards that can give you an idea of what kinds of tasks your children are ready to learn.  Do a google search.  Or just take our word for it, and check out this one from FamilyEducation.com

We generally believe that kids are much more capable than we give them credit for.  Given the proper TEACHING, they can be responsible for many jobs around the house.  

And teaching is what we do here. So, let us help you out.  

I do. We do. You do.

These are the steps.  There's no timeline for them.  There's no magic number of times you have to show them and do it with them before they "get it."  There's nothing that says that just because you've made it successfully to YOU DO that you don't have to revisit the WE DO stage when the bathroom cleaning gets a little lax.   

Just know that when your little ones (or big ones) are struggling with something that they SHOULD know how to do, it's time to go back to WE DO.

The Importance of We Do.

That means together.  Like side-by-side.  Fully supportive.  This is hard because whatever it is that you're trying to teach is going to take twice as long with someone else tagging along.  Gah.  It's going to be frustrating.  This is going to test your patience.  For you control freaks out there, this is going to test your ability to let go a little bit.  

The goal with WE DO is to teach them these new skills through cooperation not through coercion.  Everyone's experience will be better if your kiddos actually want learn it.  The pace of the learner matters.  

In no particular order, here's are best advice on WE DO.
  • It's not all-or-nothing.  Just because you're teaching your kids to do their own laundry and you're in the WE DO stage doesn't mean they have to always do it with you.  You can still do stuff for them.  They might even appreciate it a little more.  We all like it when people do stuff for us, right?  
  • Check your attitude.  If you're not in a teaching mood, don't bother.  See above and just do it yourself.  
  • Check their attitude.  Just because you're ready to teach, doesn't mean that their are ready to learn.  Set yourself up for success.  Make a plan together.
  • Teach with kindness, patience, and humor.  Don't just bark orders.  WE DO.  So, you do it too.
  • Don't expect perfection.  Don't refold the clothes.  Don't re-chop the onions.  Unless it's going to hurt or injury someone else in the family, leave it.
  • Get them on board with the process.  "Can you help me with dinner?" will usually get a positive response.  
  • If it gets stressful, call it off.  Live to fight another day.
  • Be a team.  Yes, laundry stinks.  Nobody likes to do dishes.  But, hey, we're in this together, kid.  Let's get it done.  
  • Praise them.  Not "Good job."  Instead try: "I really appreciate your help." "I know it's hard to learn something new.  You really tried hard and you got it."  "You made my evening better."  "I love spending time with you."  
  • Thank them for their help.  Even if it took five times longer than it normally does.

But, what if they just don't want to?

Honestly, who really WANTS to do laundry?  We get it.  It's hard to make these chores attractive.  

If you've got a little one who has dug in their heels on something, pick a different battle.  Start with something they're interested in.  Go slow.  Especially if they haven't had many responsibilities leading up to this point.  

That WE DO stage might need to last a good long while.  

Hang in there, parents.  You're raising responsible adults and that's not an easy task.
 
 
Ready for some great ideas to do art (and other creative play) AT HOME this summer?  We're going to make it easy for you!  

Every single MONDAY beginning next week, our blog will feature oodles of ideas that you can use to exercise those young creative muscles.

To make it easier for us to organize, we've divided the nine weeks (yes, that's right, NINE weeks) of summer into different categories.  We're starting next week with BUILDING...so sculpture, assembly, collage, mixed media...think small parts coming together into ONE work.    
See the complete list:

 
 
Some of our best "art" supplies come from Dollar Tree!  One of our favorite multi-taskers are our spray bottles.  


In our preschool art rooms, our instructors use these bottles weekly to keep our watercolor trays wet while little ones paint. This keeps us from having to use water cups on our tables.  (keeping spills to a minimum)

We love this idea so much, we wrote a blog post about it here.  

Often times, it's the little artists who want to spray things.  

[Anything.  They'll spray anything.]

BONUS: Dollar Tree spray bottles are small and lightweight...perfect for little hands!

We hang paper on our chalkboard and these become the "targets" to spray.  If you add some liquid watercolors to the water, you can get some pretty {wet} art from this activity.  We recommend liquid watercolors instead of food coloring because it's washable!  (this is the brand we use)

If you set up paper targets, make sure you lay some towels down underneath them to catch the drips!

From an early education standpoint, spray bottles strengthen little hands for writing.  Spraying on on a vertical surface also works on shoulder and core stability.

TECHNIQUES

Our artists who use acrylic paint, use these spray bottles to mist their palettes which keeps the paint from drying out while they are working. 

Our watercolor artists use them to re-wet their palettes or to wet their papers for wet-on-wet techniques.

It's fun to paint FIRST (with any type of water-based paints) and THEN spray it vertically.  The running colors and random drips make abstract art or the foundation/background for a mixed media work.  

Sometimes we spray liquid watercolor or alcohol inks onto paper as it's lying flat.  The result is a soft speckled design.   We can place objects on the paper to MASK the spray and add visual interest.  Imagine a placing a doily on a sheet of paper, spraying it with ink, and then removing the doily.  You'd be left with a lacy design in the negative space.

We've yet to meet anyone (of any age) who doesn't enjoy this simple art-making tool!
 
 
Use spray bottles to saturate your watercolor palettes! Brilliant! No more spilled water cups. Plus, it's really fast and kids love spray bottles. [Orange Easel Art]
Water cups on the tables can be a pain with little ones.  Especially little ones who like to play IN the water.  (Don't misunderstand us...we love waterplay.  But during a painting lesson, sometimes it's better to remove the water distraction!)  


We've eliminated the risk of a cup of water spilling all over someone's art work.
Use spray bottles to saturate your watercolor palettes! Brilliant! No more spilled water cups. Plus, it's really fast and kids love spray bottles. [Orange Easel Art]
Often times in our preschool classes, our instructors use spray bottles to wet our watercolors while the little ones paint.  You can saturate all the color cakes with just a few sprays.   The paint is ready quickly, which is important for sometimes-impatient lil' artists.  

 If we have a smaller class and time allows, we let the artists spray their own paint palettes.  Preschoolers love spray bottles.  

These small bottles are from from Dollar Tree.  
 
 
Last month we needed 20 rolling pins for our young artists who were learning to roll out clay slabs.  Well, we didn't NEED 20 of them, but we didn't want them to have to share; we're not opposed to sharing, but in this case, the down-time would mean less practice and learning time.   And we only have 60 minutes together.

Rather than purchase a bunch of rolling pins, we fashioned our own from pvc pipes.  They worked perfectly.  They are smooth, durable, fairly light weight and inexpensive!  They can be cut to any length.  (Ours are approximately 12 inches.)  We used a miter saw to cut them.
Since making our rolling pins, we've learned that they are also wonderful for rolling out playdough and for rolling out paint!